Testing

Game Testing

Everyone like to play games for fun, to kill the stress, to refresh yourself or to improve Intelligent Quotient by playing action games, adventurous games, strategical game etc. Have you thought about how games are tested and delivered to the end users. In this blog post, we will see about what is the game testing approach needs to be followed.

Forget about the storyboard, characters’ design, game strategy, market research etc., we will focus only on technical front.
Effective game testing strategy leads to an awesome and hassle free gaming experience to the end users.

First and foremost we need to analyse the aspects of game testing:

Usability (Navigation, Menu, Sound/Music, Special Effects, 2D/3D, Voice Rendering, Help Manual, Locked/Unlocked levels, Hints/Tips/Tricks, Artificial Intelligence, Motion Sensor, Touch recognition, Speech Recognition, Environment)

Functionality (Logic, Algorithm, Scores/Points/Levels, Intended Actions, Architecture Validation)

Compatibility (Resolution, Platforms, Different Hardware/Software Configuration, Data Validation)

Localization / Internationalization (Languages, Date/Time/Currency formats, Names, Cultural differences)

Performance (Speed, Stability, Memory, Endurance, CPU Usage, Disk Utilization, Network and Scalability)

Hardwares (Controllers, Mouse, Joystick, Buttons, Strokes, TV/Monitor Configuration)

Recovery Scenarios (Game crash, Memory card’s space unavailability)

Now we will see about the phases of game testing. This might differs from organization to organization.

1. Requirements Elicitation

Thorough understanding of Storyboard, Game Architecture, Game Features, Characters, Concept, rules, Game points, and Game stages/levels will helps testers to create an effective game testing strategy. Game Director, Technical Team and Testers should conduct a brainstorm for thorough understanding of the game’s features.

2. Game Test Strategy

Test Strategy document includes the following aspects: Timeline, Testers, Number of Testing Cycles, In-scope, Out-scope, Types of Testing to be conducted, Risk based Test analysis, Service Level Agreements, Risks and Mitigation, Defect Logging Process and Reporting Process.

3. Game Test Cases Design

In this phase, testers should create test cases for testing. Testers should create Positive (Functional aspects) as well as Negative (Non-Functional aspects) Test cases. Tester should focus and create test cases that will “break the game code”.

E.g. Driving the car reverse and try to reach the mark.
Beating your team mate and observing the behavior.
Loading the game with no space available in the memory card.

4. Game Test Cases Execution

Executing game test cases in the identified environment with different software and hardware configuration reveals more defects. Running the game continuously for more than 48 hours will helps to validate the stability of the game. Alpha, Beta and respective age group testing will help to improve the quality of the game further.

5. Game Test Results

Observed behavior during execution should be recorded as a movie/screenshots. This will helps development to review effectively.

6. Defect Logging and Tracking

All the defects should be logged, prioritized, categorized, and tracked effectively. Defect Logs helps developers for the next title work.

7. Manufacturing and Delivering

Once the game is created, deliver it to the entertainment companies like Sony, Electronic Arts, Microsoft for their feedback and the production. Once the Censor board approves the game it will be commercially ready to distribute, by burning into CDs.

Above points are purely based on my experience. If I missed anything, please add your points in comments section.

Happy Gaming & Testing!

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